Last night, I was looking through pictures from the Easter gathering that my family held and I couldn’t stop smiling. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family and seeing their bright smiling faces, brings me joy. I wasn’t there to celebrate Easter with them, but the photos help me to still feel connected to everyone. One picture in particular stood out – one of my cousin Slim and his family. Growing up, I was super close to my cousins Slim and Sunshine. They are the same age and I’m older by 2 years. The three of us had many wild adventures growing up. Well, as wild as 3 sheltered kids could have in the ‘burbs. Did you read about our party line antics here? Mixed amongst the fun times are the two fights that Slim and I got into. Not bad for a crew that was as thick as thieves and around one another 24/7 for 2 months straight every summer. Let me tell y’all about one of those fights.
Back in 1991, my Grandma turned 65 years old. To mark the milestone, Mama TDJ and her 5 siblings decided to throw her a big party. Since Slim, Sunshine and I were the oldest cousins, we wanted to make some kind of big contribution. I was 14 at the time, and they were 12. We decided to create a photo book for her, including pictures of all her living siblings, each of her children along with their spouses and children. It took us a few weeks to pull it all together and the bit of stress associated with the project had the three of us a little tense.
By party night, things had reached a fever pitch. In the “green room” as we waited for my grandmother to arrive, Slim and I bickered as if we were 4 and 2, not 14 and 12. Sunshine tried to play the middle, but neither of us was hearing her that day. The party was beginning in less than 30 minutes, we’d taken tons of pictures and were planning to take just a few more during the party. Our final project before heading downstairs was to take a picture for the last page of the book. We decided to make it of us 3, since we were the oldest grandchildren.
My auntie, Slim’s mother, came into the room to let us know that Grandma was en route. Sunshine and Slim posed on the couch, while I got the camera ready for Auntie to take the pic. Dang, dead battery. I searched through my little purse for more batteries but couldn’t find them. I distinctly remember dropping two batteries in there, but they were nowhere to be found. From across the room, Slim began talking trash. I wish I could tell you exactly what he said, but I can’t. I can tell you just how much his words enraged me though. So much in fact, that I snapped. Yep, way before the Lifetime series, I snapped!! The fingers on my right hand finally met the smooth, cool surface of one AA battery in the dark recesses of my purse. In the blink of an eye and without any warning, I grabbed it and hurled it across the room at Slim.
Now, in case I’ve never mentioned it, my hand eye coordination is horrible. Truly laughable, as a matter of fact. I’ve never been good at Pac Man, old Atari games, or anything related to sports. I stopped tossing things to people because they would land in bushes, toilets, sewers, etc.
I suppose the devil guided my hand that night, because I hit Slim squarely between the eye, on the bridge of his nose. The battery smacked him with a resounding THUD, followed by his screams as he hit the ground while grabbing his face and writhing in pain. The scene felt surreal because he was the only one moving. His mom, Sunshine and I were frozen in place. Shock is too mild of a word to describe what I was feeling.
Had I really thrown a AA battery at my cousin? And had it really hit him? Y’all know that I’m the loveable, non-violent type. Yet somehow, he had gotten under my skin and I snapped. After a few more seconds, we all awoke from our haze – Sunshine started crying, my Aunt ran over to Slim to check out the injuries, and I proceeded to change the dead batteries in the camera. Yup, sure did. Walked over to him, tossed out an, “I’m sorry Slim” and grabbed the battery from the floor near where he lay on the floor. Dang MrsTDJ.
I know, I know. Cold, right? I just needed a few seconds to get my thoughts together. Once I finished with the camera, I gave him a hug and a real apology. Realizing that I could have blinded the poor boy, I teared up a bit myself. He accepted my apology while a knot the size of Mount Vesuvius grew from his head. And yup, we took the picture anyway. My Auntie zoomed allllllllll the way out on purpose, but if you look closely enough, you can surely see the lump upside his head. Oops! That photo album still lives at my Grandma’s house in her dining room and if anyone pulls it out, the story will be told and greeted with rounds of laughter as if it’s the first time anyone has ever heard it. Gotta love family!
Y’all ever snap and physically go off on someone before you could stop yourself? Please tell me I wasn’t alone.